Frontier eyes more Q400s, seeks full codeshare with AirTran

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Denver-based Frontier Airlines revealed today that it is interested in acquiring more Bombardier Q400 turboprops.

"We're looking at opportunities to expand that fleet," said Frontier CEO Sean Menke at the Boyd aviation forecast summit in Aspen.

Flight's ACAS database shows Frontier's Lynx subsidiary operates 10 Q400s with options for 10 additional aircraft. Lynx inaugurated flights from Denver in December 2007.

"We've been looking at picking up some more [Q400s]," Menke adds.

Frontier is eyeing more of the 74-seat turboprops as it navigates through Chapter 11 reorganization. The carrier filed for bankruptcy protection in April.

Last month Frontier detailed plans to remove four seats from its Q400s to allow passengers to travel with skis onboard to support intra-Colorado flights for the winter season. Aircraft reconfigurations are scheduled for next month, and the seats will be re-installed during April.

Separately, Menke disclosed that Frontier is looking at potentially forging a codeshare with agreement with AirTran Airways.

Menke tells ATI on the sidelines of the conference that Frontier and AirTran have held talks to explore codesharing opportunities on and off for a number of years.

In November 2006 the two carriers established a marketing alliance in which each features an integrated route map on their respective web sites, and a full list of destination options offered by the other airline. This allows for customer referrals between AirTran and Frontier.

Technical hurdles that prevented a full-fledged codeshare with AirTran have now been remedied by the Atlanta-hubbed carrier, says Menke.